Manager Keith Curle with his reaction to the Mansfield game
Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the Mansfield home defeat on Saturday afternoon.
“I think in reality we created enough goalmouth action to have put the ball in the net more times than we did,” he said. “There’s a level of frustration from myself that we got the ball into good areas without using it properly.
“At times we needed more quality and we needed to move and anticipate things better. Sometimes, believe it or not, there can be a little bit of pressure and nerves that creep in. The pleasing thing is we are seeing a group which is desperate to do well.
“That can cause nervousness and players start to worry about doing the wrong things. You need to try to unlock that and get them to feel comfortable in expressing themselves in the final third. The fact is we had enough chances to have put the ball in the back of the net.”
“We had over 20 shots but not enough of them were on target,” he added. “We need to tighten that up, but overall we're still two points off the play-offs with five games to play. If we'd scored early rather than with 40 seconds left we’d have had a chance.
“You can over analyse it sometimes and at the end of the day the players are giving everything. Mansfield quietened the crowd and got them edgy. Then they got a goal to defend as well. We kept trying to get the ball in wide areas and deliver but we need to have a little bit more quality and belief.”
“What we have to consider is the players are only human,” he continued. “Everything they do through the week is geared towards winning on a Saturday. What we want is to achieve an end goal of being able to compete in the play-offs at the first attempt this season.
“If we’re able to do that then a lot of credit will have to go to the players and the staff who created a level of consistency in the environment we are trying to create which has given us the opportunity to do this.
“There are a lot of plus points to come out of this season so far and we have to remember that. Yes, there is also frustration because I want to score goals and I want to win games comfortably. We’re going into nervy times because we want success but I also remember we had nervy times last season when we were at the wrong end of the table.
“All I can ask is that we don’t get off the bus because we’re still there. Our mindset would obviously be different if we’d won and we were sat in the play-off places. That wouldn’t have changed things going down to Cambridge next week because we still have to go there and win.”
“There will be twists and turns for most teams between now and the end of the season and the players have got to handle the pressure,” he commented. “That’s the only way to be successful. There are five games left and the question we pose to the group is to ask if they can get us five wins.
“We’re at the business end of the season and the fact is you have to get results. We ended with seven attack minded players on the pitch and a centre back playing up front. We tried everything we could to get the run of the ball but it didn’t quite work out for us.
“That doesn’t mean we have to now dismantle all the good work we’ve been doing. The biggest disappointment was some of the use of the ball at the near post wasn’t what we needed. We had four or five which the keeper dived out and got hold of and that’s when you need one of your centre forwards to make the unselfish run to make it harder for the keeper to do that.
“We’d knocked on the back door, we’d knocked on the front door, we tried the side door and then we tried to get in through the window. We put Michael Raynes up there and that was the last throw of the dice for us.”
Looking ahead to the run-in, he said: “My job is to pick the 18 who, in my opinion, will get us the result. It's still alive and there are still things to look forward to.
“There were players out there giving everything for the football club and the supporters, as well as for themselves. My teams won't go away saying they haven't competed and there won't be a lack of effort because that is a minimum requirement. They give us everything they've got. They might come up short technically but I can accept that.
“The players will always get honesty from me. What I've said to them is that we're two points off where we want to get to. They're frustrated because they know we've put enough balls into the box and we were slightly reactive to some of the knocks downs rather than gambling. As I say, we’ll work on that and we’ll look at how we will get the points next Saturday.”
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